Fuji-goko the Five Lakes District

Fuji-Goko is the collective term for the district containing five large lakes that are situated along the northern base of Mt.Fuji, which towers at the border of southern Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. The lakes are Yamada Lake, Kawaguchi Lake, Saiko Lake, Shoji Lake, Motosu Lake. The largest is Lake Yamanakako, the smallest is the Lake Shoji, the one with the highest surface attitude is Yamanakako Lake, and the deepest is Motosu Lake. The town of Fuji-Kawaguchiko surrounds the lake of the same name, and this area offers the best viewing of Mt Fuji.

We were headed to the Kachi-kachi Ropeway to go up to view Mt Fuji.  🙂

The Kawagauchiko Ropeway takes travellers up Kachi-kachi Yama, which translates roughly as ‘Fire-crackle Mountain.  The ‘kachi-kachi’ bit being an onomatopoetic word for the sound a fire makes, and ‘yama’ meaning mountain.  The cute little hiking rabbit and his tanuki (Japanese racoon) companion are a cutesy little theme that run through the complex.  Lake Kawaguchiko and the town of Fuji-Kawaguchiko. Mt Fuji.  On our last trip, Aunty Mary, Mr K and the Teenager all hiked to the top of Mt Fuji, but this is the first time they have actually seen it!  The weather was so poor they climbed the entire mountain in raid and clouds and fog, so they never actually saw the peak of the mountain after their arduous journey.The Usagi shrine dedicated to the rabbit from the Kachi-kachi Yama myths… must have been one special rabbit! It is said that if you ring the Bell of Tenjo while watching Mt Fuji and make a wish,  your wish will come true.

The Kachi-kachi Ropeway is named after the story about the antics of a rabbit and a tanuki (Japanese racoon) who were said to have lived on Kachi-kachi Yama… the rabbit looks like he is trying to put out the fire on the tanuki’s pack. The rabbit helping the poor, crying tanaki. No idea what is going on in this one… The two friends looking off the mountain, farewelling guests. They’re so very Japanese and so cute!  Anyway, this morning I thought I’d go looking for info on the legend of the rabbit and the tanuki… and found this, copied directly from the Wikipedia article on Kachi-kachi Yama:

The trouble-making tanuki
As the story goes, a man caught a troublesome tanuki in his fields, and tied it to a tree to kill and cook it later. When the man left for town, the tanuki cried and begged the man’s wife who was making some mochi, a sweet rice dish, to set him free, promising he would help her. The wife freed the animal, only to have it turn on her and kill her. The tanuki then planned a foul trick.

Using its shapeshifting abilities, the tanuki disguised itself as the wife and cooked a soup, using the dead woman’s flesh. When the man came home, the tanuki served him the soup. After the meal, the tanuki reverted to its original appearance and revealed its treachery before running off and leaving the poor man in shock and grief.

Enter the rabbit
The couple had been good friends with a rabbit that lived nearby. The rabbit approached the man and told him that it would avenge his wife’s death. Pretending to befriend the 
tanuki, the rabbit instead tortured it through various means, from dropping a bee’s nest on it to ‘treating’ the stings with a peppery poultice that burned.

The title of the story comes from the especially painful trick that the rabbit played. While the tanuki was carrying a heavy load of kindling on his back to make a campfire for the night, he was so burdened that he did not immediately notice when the rabbit set fire to the kindling. Soon, the crackling sound reached its ears and it asked the rabbit what the sound was. “It is Kachi-Kachi Yama” the rabbit replied. “We are not far from it, so it is no surprise that you can hear it!”. Eventually, the fire reached the tanuki’s back, burning it badly, but without killing it.

Yikes!  Yeah, really cute, hey!  😮

I couldn’t tell you what they are exactly, but apparently, there are a smattering of references to this myth in Super Mario Sunshine.

The video game depicts Mario in a tanuki outfit and he goes adventuring in a mud boat (the longer version of the myth has the tanuki make a boat out of mud which sinks), and Mario’s boat will only stay afloat for so long as it disintegrates in the water and when it bumps into things, or something like that.

At the base of Kachi-kachi Yama is the world famous Fujiyama Cookie shop!  Where, you can buy all manner of Fuji styled cookies and candies. Camembert cheesecake… sounds amazing.  Amazingly suspicious!Also – the widest variety of weird KitKat flavours known to man… Wasabi flavour, Strawberry Cheesecake flavour, Sake flavour, Apple flavour.   Nearby was the Ide Sake Brewery, unfortunately, we spent too much time up Kachi-kachi and missed the last brewery tours, but we made a mental note to make up for it this evening.After this, it was back into town for a little shopping and then the bus trip back to Shinjuku bus station, whereupon we did a little more shopping 😉 and then went hunting for dinner.

Meals here have become a bit of a point of contention… Mr K and the Teenager are not fond of seafood and would prefer noodle or ramen every night, whereas I am in sushi Mecca and would happily eat sashimi until the cows come home (or the tide goes out – dunno mixing metaphors, whatever) and am not a fan of the soggy noodle.  Most small restaurants here seem to be one or the other – they specialise in sushi and sashimi or they are a noodle bar/ramen restaurant. So finding a place that serves both is actually harder than you might expect.  Tonight – we hit the jackpot with a little place not far from Shinjuku station.

The restaurant was called Sakusui – and we will definitely be back!  To quote their own website:  “Delicious and cheap and filled with stomach!”

Ordered the large sake, and my cup was running over *and* it came with a bottle to keep it refilled… for Y350

Saw this on the menu. Obviously, we had to order it to find out what it was… turned out to be a tasty tasty Martian alien octopus thing.

And the most delicious and affordable sushi platter ever, Y990, which at the moment is around AUD$11. Fabulous food in a busy little restaurant – I would highly recommend hunting this place out if you are in Shinjuku.Another wonderful day in Japan over it was back to our shoebox hotel room for… another soak in the tub.  🙂  This time with extra sake!

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